7 min

Thinking about building an intranet? Here's what you need to know

Beezy

January 29, 2022

There’s nothing stopping your organization from building an intranet. You’ve got a good idea of what your employees want, right? And an understanding of what's involved?

The reality is, though, unless you’ve got tons of time and a large team of expert in-house developers, building your own intranet can end up being more costly and will take longer to go live than an out-of-the-box solution. Not to mention, even if your organization is able to build your own solution for your digital workplace, there’s no guarantee it will be a success. 

For starters, you’ll need to think about upkeep and whether you’ve got the time and resources to support this. Perhaps most importantly, with tech being such huge part of our daily lives, people’s standards for 'good UX design' are higher than ever.

To compete, organizations need to offer a consumer-grade experience, with an intranet that helps build your company culture, is easy to use, and connects employees to the tools they need to do their jobs. 

 

Speaking of jobs – do you have the right people in-house for building an intranet?

Just because an organization has a stellar IT department doesn’t mean they’re capable of building a brand new digital workplace.

Even though most intranets are built on top of existing investments, like SharePoint or Adobe CMS, getting everything to function in a truly integrated way is a complex process. Designing and building an intranet requires tried and tested expertise.

A ready-to-go digital workplace solution like Beezy takes the hard work off your IT department‘s plate through a quick but comprehensive implementation process that brands your new digital workplace and configures it so it integrates with your key systems and tools. What you’ve got, then, is a complete solution that’s simple to manage and, most importantly, puts the user experience first.

With a ‘build from scratch’ intranet, the process can become lengthy – and therefore costly.

All things considered, it’s likely the internal cost associated with this work will be more up front than purchasing pre-built software, both in terms of salary costs for internal employees and the opportunity cost associated with them no longer working on other priorities.

Consider this before building your own intranet...

Are the issues you’re trying to solve with your digital workplace truly unique? Honestly, probably not. 


Although every organization will have their own specific needs, it’s likely there will be a few common themes. Almost everybody needs a solid knowledge management system, productivity toolscustom branding options, and newsfeeds that can be personalized to users’ preferences

Digital workplace solutions are evolving all the time, but these technologies aren’t new. The industry is mature, and the right product will have already developed all of the capabilities your organization requires.

How soon do you need your new intranet up and running? 

We’ve already covered why building in-house might not be as cost-effective as it might seem.

But it’s also worth mentioning that many intranets can be fully launched in just a matter of weeks. Even if you do have the right skills and money to burn, the average custom enterprise internet build takes nine months before you can even start creating content.

Worth considering is how much will change in those nine months. Let’s take a look at what we’ve seen from Microsoft, for example, in the last year or so. Microsoft Viva was announced at the end of February 2021, but the employee experience platform is only available now. And most of it’s not yet working unless you’re using SharePoint home sites (which many organizations didn’t get until early 2020).

Can you wait that long? It’s worth considering how pressing your staff’s needs are. Does your current intranet mean they’re often forced to waste time searching for documents or information?

The sooner you can get a new solution up and running, the sooner you can claw back those hours of lost productivity.

What are your intranet options anyway?

 

Here's a quick overview:

  1. Custom intranet
    Extensive customization capabilities offer flexibility, as well as integrations with enterprise applications (like document management systems, CRM, ERP software, and so on), but they’re costly and time-consuming to develop. 
  2. Frameworks and web parts
    Disguised as a fully functioning and nicely branded intranet, this type of solution is held together by custom code, and plagued by long implementations and expensive ongoing maintenance services.
  3. Traditional SaaS
    This is an out-of-the box working product that’s configurable and includes regular updates and bug fixes. But if you go this route, you’ll need to opt for upgrades in services and fees.
  4. All-inclusive
    This option is a fully functioning out-of-the box solution that’s configurable with regular updates and bug fixes. And there are no hidden fees since all services and customer support is included within your subscription.

Finally, remember that your project doesn’t end at launch

Okay, so your shiny new intranet is up and running. That’s it, right?

Wrong. Like any other platform, your new digital workplace requires year-round back-end support. If you choose to do this in-house, that’ll be on top of managing sites, training and uploading new content. 

If you deploy an all-inclusive, ready-to-go solution like Beezy, you’ll have an award-winning product that’s backed by a global Customer Success team, with a team of developers providing ongoing updates and new innovations. 

 

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